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Behind the seams of local designer Stevie Edwards

Stevie Edwards is a local fashion designer, small business owner and entrepreneur successfully bringing Chicago style coast-to-coast.

South Side native Edwards has had his fashion designs and collections grace the pages of Vogue and Ebony magazines, the bodies of countless celebrities and the catwalks of major fashion shows.

Edwards’ dream of pursuing fashion began when he was a student at Dunbar Vocational High School, learning to tailor clothing, and led him to the Ray-Vogue College of Design and the Illinois Institute of Art where he was discovered by the late Eunice Johnson, the creator of Ebony Fashion Fair. Johnson purchased Edwards’ evening gowns to travel the world for her International Fashion Fair Show, and from there his career took off.

Edwards began working as an assistant with a slew of Chicago’s most notable designers, like Barbara Bates, Keith Kendall and Reginald Thomas.

He was also featured in Ebony Magazine as a “Black Designer on the Rise” and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Over the past two decades Edwards opened up several boutiques. In 1996 he opened his first, Collections, in Hyde Park.

“I think I actually started the re-gentrification in Hyde Park because there were no high-end boutiques or shoes there,” Edwards explained.

“You would have to go to Oak Street or Michigan Avenue to get high-end designer shoes, but I brought that right in the neighborhood.”

With his success in Hyde Park Edwards expanded and opened up Collezioni in the Gold Coast and Collezioni Studio in the West Loop.

“I was one of the first, if not the only African American small business owner to do this,” Edwards said.

“These stores carried high-end men and women designer shoes. I was importing brands like Rene Caovilla, Claude Montana, Jo Ghost and Todd Welsh just to name a few.

“I would take buying trips to Milan, Italy and import Italian brands exclusively for my stores.”

After a long successful run Edwards dispelled the three stores and decided to return back to his passion of designing clothes.

In 2008 the designer opened his flagship store “I Luv Stevie” in the South Loop featuring a combination of upscale original and cutting-edge pieces.

Most recently his designs have been worn by comedian/actress Tiffany Haddish. Edwards worked with Haddish’s stylist, LuxuryLaw, who knew styling Haddish in Edwards’ clothes would be a hit.

Celebrities Diana Ross, LisaRaye McCoy, Jody Watley, D’Angelo and Terisa Griffin have all also worn pieces from his collections. Edwards has had his work showcased at New York Fashion Week and Urban Fashion Week in Miami.

He has also received major editorial recognition in national publications for his accomplishments in fashion, including the Miami Herald, Chicago Defender and CIE Fashion Magazine.

“I am constantly building my brand because I want to conquer the fashion world,” Edwards said.

Edwards is now preparing to do a major campaign ad that will be published in the Fall in an international magazine.

With more than 30 years in the fashion industry, the designer has no plans of slowing down or leaving Chicago. Currently residing in Hyde Park, Edwards doesn’t believe it’s necessary to relocate to New York or Los Angeles.

“I will be breaking barriers and being one of the first African American business owners and fashion designers to do so in Chicago,” Edwards said.

Edwards works by appointment only. Customers can also shop online from his site at www.stevieedwards.com.

For updates on Edwards’ latest collections, follow him on Instagram @stevietedesigner, on Facebook at StevieEdwards or on Twitter @stevieedwards.